More than 100 protesters gathered outside the Florissant Police Department on Tuesday evening, calling for the conviction of former officer Joshua Smith.
He was fired from the police department and charged last week with first-degree assault after officials said he intentionally hit a man he was chasing with his unmarked police vehicle earlier this month.
Protesters chanted and held signs reading “convict Joshua Smith,” “police accountability now” and “who do you protect?” Some people repainted the words “Black Lives Matter” on North Lindbergh Boulevard, in front of the police department. The city’s streets department painted over the original earlier this week.
One protester caused a stir in the crowd around 8 p.m. when he accidentally shot himself in the foot with a long rifle he was carrying while walking near police.
In a statement, the department said: “After the firearm discharged our officers immediately rendered aid to the victim. This protester suffered a non-life threatening injury to his right foot and has been transported to a local hospital. No officers fired any shots.”
The department did not release the man’s name or say whether he was arrested. Spokesman Steve Michael said, “It’s an ongoing investigation.”
Protesters have gathered outside the police department for several weeks.
They are also calling for the two officers who were in the car with Smith during the incident to be fired. Florissant Police Chief Timothy Fagan last week said they have been suspended with pay.
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